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Social commerce soars in the US but security and trust still a concern

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Pexel by Tracy Le Blanc

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated consumer adoption of online shopping, including shopping on social media, with more than a third (39 percent) of US shoppers stating that they have made a purchase on social media and would do so again.

New research from Mintel reveals that 61 percent of 25-34-year-olds buy on social media, while 81 percent of parents with children under age 18 are interested in social commerce, and that 90 percent of consumers are aware of brand pages/accounts on social media, meaning that there is a huge opportunity for engagement.

Katie Hansen, retail and e-commerce analyst at Mintel, said: “Social commerce is the next evolution of e-commerce and will benefit from Americans’ heavy use of online shopping in recent years. As with the adoption of online shopping, it will take time for consumers to become comfortable purchasing items via social media, and even more time for them to do so on any kind of regular basis, but the category will see a boost as a result of increasing engagement from younger consumers as they grow into adulthood and earn more money.

“That said, social commerce will in no way replace traditional e-commerce or in-store shopping, but it will become a key part of their shopping repertoire.”

However, security and trust remain “big barriers” to social commerce, added Mintel. While consumers are increasingly curious about social commerce, two in five (38 percent) consumers say they haven’t made a purchase directly on a social media platform due to the lack of trust in the security of their payment information. With 23 percent adding that it’s because they are worried they will never receive their purchase.

Hansen added: “As with any new concept, consumers still need a fair amount of education and reassurance on the process, as they are concerned that their data might not be secure and/or that they’ll never receive the item they purchase.

“Brands will need to demonstrate to consumers how shopping on social media is quite similar to shopping via a website or mobile app and how, in fact, social commerce can even further streamline the process.”

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